Benefits of GlucosamineGlucosamine is an amino sugar and is a natural compound occurring in healthy cartilage. Certain amount of glucosamine is synthesized in the body of every individual, however as one grows older, body loses its capacity to synthesize it, slowly causing pain in weight bearing joints, deformed joints and limping. Glucosamine stimulates the cartilage to produce proteoglycans and collagen (two proteins) that are believed to hold the joint tissue together. Glucosamine sulfate is a form of glucosamine and is a normal constituent in cartilage matrix and synovial fluid.
Health and glucosamine
- Glucosamine sulfate may be beneficial for patients suffering from mild-moderate knee osteoarthritis.
- Glucosamine may have anti-inflammatory effects and may improve joint function and relieve pain and thus can be used as an osteoarthritis cure.
- N-acetyl glucosamine when added in the therapy for inflammatory bowel diseases (crohn's disease, ulcerative colitis) may show improvements in patients.
- Patients with leg pain arising from advanced lumbar degenerative disc disease may benefit from injected glucosamine plus chondroitin. Before recommending glucosamine for leg pain treatment, more scientific evidences are necessary.
- Glucosamine can be used for rheumatoid arthritis remedy as it may help to decrease joint pain and swelling in rheumatoid arthritis patients.
- Traditionally based on scientific theories glucosamine is also used in athletic injuries, back pain, osteoporosis, cancer, depression, diabetes, kidney stone, migraine headaches, psoriasis, tropical hypo pigmenting agent and wound healing. More scientific researches need to be conducted in each of these fields before its recommendation in these conditions.
Side effects of glucosamine
- Glucosamine supplements are made from a substance chitin; present in crabs, shrimps, lobster shells and other shelled fish. Thus individuals with shell fish allergy may get allergic reaction with glucosamine preparations.
- Glucosamine can be well tolerated for 1-3 months; some individuals may show some side effects like headaches, stomach upsets, gas, nausea, vomiting, heartburn, constipation, drowsiness, sun sensitivity, skin reactions, insomnia and altered blood pressure and heart rate.
- Glucosamine may have effects on insulin and can lower blood sugar levels, so should be used with caution for patients with diabetes, hypoglycemia and on medications/herbal supplements for the same.
- Glucosamine may also increase the risk of bleeding, so it should be used with caution in patients with bleeding disorders and on medications that may increase the risk of bleeding.
- Glucosamine is not recommended for children and during pregnancy and lactation.
Glucosamine should be taken in recommended doses under the guidance of a health care professional to gain maximum benefits.